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Google, Apple block TikTok download in India
17 April 2019, 12:01 | Glen Norman
Tik Tok video app
Google and Apple have blocked access to the video app, TikTok, after the Madras High Court directed the Centre to ban the application's download over concerns regarding pornographic content. TikTok app is available to download on Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store in Android smartphones.
Jokes, clips and footage related to India's thriving movie industry dominate the app's platform, along with memes and videos in which youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-sync and dance to popular music.
E-mails sent to Apple and Google did not elicit a response.
The bench hearing the case said: "It is evident from media reports that pornography and inappropriate contents are made available in this kind of cyber applications". The app has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, app analytics firm Sensor Tower said in February. Earlier this year, the US Federal Trade Commission fined the company $5.7 million over child privacy violations. As it turns out, MeitY made this move after the Supreme Court in India denied TikTok's plea to stay the Madras High Court's directive from April 3.
The Madras High Court is scheduled to hear the case on Tuesday, April 16 on the issue of ad-interim orders and pass orders or directions accordingly. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said that it is keeping the issue open for further adjudication and would consider it on April 22.
Chinese startup Bytedance urged India's Supreme Court last week to quash the ban order, saying it would go against freedom of speech rights in India.
Meanwhile, TikTok, in a statement, said: "We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as a part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India".
The Indian high court's interim order also included a request to the central government of India to advocate a ban nationwide.
TikTok is problematic because it has been found to host user-generated content that is considered to be inappropriate. The company, on the other hand, has said it can't be held responsible for the content uploaded by third-parties. This isn't helped by the fact that the app mainly appeals to young people. "We have faith in the Indian judicial system and we are optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by over 120 million monthly active users in India, who continue using TikTok to showcase their creativity and capture moments that matter in their everyday lives".
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